In the midst of a tumultuous week in Maltese politics and with only nine months to go before the European Parliament and local elections, Lovin Malta conducted its first scientific survey to assess public sentiment.
The survey, which was carried out in partnership with research company Esprimi, was conducted amongst a sample of 1,100 people a few days after the Egrant inquiry conclusion was published.
These are the most eye-opening findings from our survey.
1. Labour could win the next election by 100,000 votes
The Labour Party is riding high, polling at 46.8% of the vote, more than double that of the Nationalist Party, which is struggling at a dismal 16.5%. If the several people who have pledged to boycott the election keep to their word, then Labour is looking at a record 100,000 vote majority, more than double the margin between the two parties in the 2013 and 2017 elections.
This result could well see it obtain a two-thirds parliamentary majority, which would legally permit the government to update the Constitution to its liking without even consulting the Opposition.
These numbers also emerged in a survey conducted today by MaltaToday, which prompted a spokesperson for Prime Minister Joseph Muscat to insist he is not expecting the gap between the two parties to be that wide.
2. Many PN voters plan to throw away their votes
A whopping 28.9% of people who voted PN in last year’s election insist they will boycott next year’s election while 17.5% said they are unsure. Combined, these sceptical voters outweigh the 35.6% of PN voters who intend to stick with the party – a result which will come as a worry for Opposition leader Adrian Delia.
Lovin Malta’s survey indicates that only 2.8% of PN voters plan to switch to Labour, while 15% plan to vote for a small party.
These results are in contradiction with MaltaToday’s survey – which found that 55% of PN voters intend to stick with the party, 23% will not vote or are unsure, while 21.2% will switch to the Labour Party. Small parties hardly featured at all in MaltaToday’s survey, with Alternattiva Demokratika only polling at 0.5%, the Moviment Patrijotti Maltin at 0.2% and the Partit Demokratiku at negligible percentages.
3. Most PN voters believe Adrian Delia is corrupt
A whopping 50.3% of PN voters said they believe Adrian Delia is corrupt, in sharp contrast to how only 4.6% of PN voters deemed his predecessor Simon Busuttil to be corrupt.
Delia’s trust rating among PN voters is also incredibly low. While 69.6% of PL voters gave Muscat the highest trust rating, only 10.8% of PN voters gave the same to Delia.
In contrast, 41% of PN voters gave Delia the lowest trust rating, almost as poor a figure as the 45.1% of PL voters who gave the Opposition leader the lowest marks possible.
4. But PL voters seem to be warming up to the Opposition leader
Delia’s reprieve comes his numbers amongst Labour voters, who trust the Opposition leader more than PN voters trust Joseph Muscat. Indeed, Delia scores an average score of 2.73 among PL voters, while Muscat scores a dismal 2.03 among PN voters.
Meanwhile, only 33.9% of Labour voters believe Delia is corrupt, compared to 66.1% who deem Busuttil to be corrupt. In fact, a whopping 91.7% of PL voters said they supported Delia’s initial decision to demand Busuttil’s resignation in the wake of the Egrant inquiry.
5. 20% of Labour voters think Mizzi and Schembri are corrupt
Another interesting finding. A significant 20% of PL voters believe Tourism Minister Konrad Mizzi and the Prime Minister’s chief of staff Keith Schembri are corrupt, compared to only 6.5% who believe the same of Joseph Muscat.
As expected, the corruption perception for all three politicians shoots up dramatically among PN voters – with 97% deeming Mizzi and Schembri to be corrupt and 87% saying the same for Muscat.
6. Most people remain unconvinced by the Egrant inquiry
While the findings of the Egrant magisterial inquiry have clearly impacted the way many people view the story, it appears as though a slight majority are still unconvinced.
Before the findings were published, 60% of the public – including a sizeable 23% of PL voters – either believed Egrant belonged to Michelle Muscat or weren’t sure.
Now the inquiry’s conclusions have been published, 49.5% of people are convinced Egrant doesn’t belong to Muscat, but 36.8% are unconvinced and the remaining 13.7% are sitting on the fence.
7. Corruption is Malta’s top concern but is pushed up by PN voters
The survey indicates corruption is a major problem for Maltese people, with 20.6% of respondents listing it as their number one concern. However, concern on corruption is clearly divided along party lines; it was listed as the top concern by 41.2% of PN voters but only by 3.1% of PL voters.
In contrast, immigration was listed as the top concern by 26.3% of PL voters, followed by traffic/parking/public transport (25.1% of PL voters) and rent prices (11.2% of PL voters).
8. Fears of Malta developing into a one-party state are very real
With the PN floundering so badly at the polls, even Joseph Muscat recently urged it to get its act together so as to provide Malta with a strong Opposition fitting of a healthy democracy.
And the survey show that fears of Malta degenerating into a one-party state have started seeping into people’s minds, with this possibility ranked as the fourth largest concern nationally.
The fear is most prominent among PN voters, 22.4% of whom ranked it as their most pressing concern, but is also significantly prominent among PL voters. Indeed, 9.2% of PL voters ranked ‘the one-party state’ as their main concern – higher than all other issues except for traffic/parking/public transport, immigration and rent prices.